Australian volunteer Vicki Spencer is the sports coach for people with disability at the Bali Sports Foundation (BSF), otherwise known as Yayasan Damai Olahraga Bali. The Foundation believes participation in sport can lead to improved development, health and social inclusion outcomes for people living with disabilities. Vicki's role is to ensure local coaches have the skills, resources and knowledge to effectively coach athletes with disability in a broader range of sports.
The Foundation offers a safe and supportive sports environment to provide children, youth and adults with disabilities a place to develop new and valued skills; develop friendships and enhance their social networks; receive mentoring support; and take advantage of new learning and educational opportunities. The Foundation's volunteer coaches and mentors provide high level training in a wide range of adaptive sports, such as swimming, surfing, judo, wheel chair basketball and sit volleyball.
In 2013, the Foundation hosted the inaugural Bali ParaGames, attended by more than 325 athletes and supported by 70 volunteers. The Games are now held annually, with growing numbers of local and international competitors and new sports. BSF recognised the need to train local coaches and referees in more sports so that they could continue to introduce new sports that are recognised by the International Paralympic Committee.
In late 2014, Australian volunteer Vicki Spencer joined the Foundation on an 18 month assignment. She aims to ensure local coaches have the skills, resources and knowledge to effectively coach athletes with disability in a broader range of sports.
Vicki had been involved with the Foundation since it was founded, traveling regularly to Bali to support the organisation. When she saw the volunteer role with the AVID program, she knew it was an opportunity to deepen her involvement with the organisation.
"The Foundation's vision aligns with my personal beliefs and values, and the work they do with people with disabilities is amazing.
"Their programs are unique in Indonesia and they are leading the way by providing sporting and recreational opportunities to people with disabilities. I hope they inspire many others to do the same," Vicki said.
Some of these opportunities have included:
- mentoring by the Disability Sports Australia wheelchair rugby team with the Indonesian Wheelchair Rugby team,
- participation by the Foundation's Triathlon team in the Bali Triathlon, and
- a visit by the National Danish Performance Team to the Foundation
She has also developed an inclusive sports program for Schools that encourages students to participate in sports for people with disabilities to give them an understanding of what people with disabilities experience on a daily basis. The program has been implemented at the Green School in Bali, which was the first school to participate.
But Vicki's most significant contribution to the Foundation has been to empower and motivate staff to try coaching different sports.
"This has been achieved by ensuring the staff have appropriate resources for the sport, the sport is demonstrated by athletes, and staff are given the opportunity to try for themselves, make mistakes and learn from them.
I also had the rules, regulations and classifications of all 14 sports translated into the Indonesian language so staff and coaches, both present and future, are able to easily access the information," Vicki explained.
BSF expects that Vicki's assignment will also support its longer term aims such as increasing the number of athletes with disabilities representing Bali and Indonesia and increasing awareness of the rights of people with disabilities.
Although Vicki's assignment is drawing to a close, she plans to continue her close association with the BSF and she hopes the Foundation will receive financial support to expand their programs into other areas of Eastern Indonesia.
Bali Sport Foundation members playing wheelchair rugby L-R: I Nyoman Rudiawan, Ni Made Ratni and I Komang Gede Kharisma Jembawan. Credit: Harjono Djoyobisono